Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Scientists have decoded the secrets behind a goldfish’s ability to survive in ice-covered lakes.

While humans and most vertebrates die in a few minutes without oxygen, these fish are able to survive for months in icy conditions in ponds and lakes in northern Europe.

Researchers have now uncovered the molecular mechanism behind this ability.

In most animals there is a single set of proteins that channel carbohydrates towards the mitochondria, which are the power packs of cells.

In the absence of oxygen, the consumption of carbohydrates generates lactic acid, which the goldfish can’t get rid of and which kills them in minutes.

Luckily, these fish have evolved a second set of proteins that take over in the absence of oxygen and convert the lactic acid to alcohol, which can then be dispersed through the gills.”The second pathway is only activated through lack of oxygen,” author Dr Michael Berenbrink from the University of Liverpool, UK, told BBC News.

In order to understand this survival strategy let us look how mitochondria came into our cells. Billions of years ago these were free organisms but they struck a deal with the cells. When these evolved into multicellular organisms these did not break off association with mitochondria because it was a useful association. Each of our cells do have them, tiny factories where they combine molecular oxygen with food we ingest in order to convert it into energy. We have some trillions of them working as though one! What drove each into the others arm eons ago? Creative power of God is the timelessness that envelops our concept of time. Once we accessed to this power, the wisdom was in evolving into what we call ourselves Homo sapiens!

Thus the gold fishes can turn lactic acid in their bodies into alcohol, as a means of staying alive. Scientists have known about the peculiar survival abilities of goldfish and their wild relatives, crucian carp, since the 1980s.

“The ice cover closes them off from the air, so when the pond is ice-covered the fish consumes all the oxygen and then it switches over to the alcohol.”

The longer they are in freezing, airless conditions the higher the alcohol levels in the fish become. Despite the fact that the fish are literally filled to the gills with alcohol, it’s not the drink that kills them. If the winter lasts too long, they run out of fuel that’s stored in their livers and die.

The researchers say there are some very important lessons to be learned about evolutionary adaptation that produces a duplicate set of genes that allows the species to maintain their original function but also to keep the back-up set if it also delivers useful function.

What caused mitochondria go into partnership with the cells? Evolution presupposes economy and when we speak of brain it is basically the nerve net of jelly fish and reptilian brain of lizards some 600 million years ago. In such partnerships evolution has specific scaffolding of power and wisdom of God to develop. Ignoramuses fight tooth and nail for Creationism or for Evolution without bothering to know full facts. Science without giving ‘why’ is limited in scope.





“The ethanol production allows the crucian carp to be the only fish species surviving and exploiting these harsh environments, thereby avoiding competition and escaping predation by other fish species with which they normally interact in better oxygenated waters,” said lead author Dr Cathrine Elisabeth Fagernes, from the University of Oslo, Norway.

“It’s no wonder then that the crucian carp’s cousin, the goldfish, is arguably one of the most resilient pets under human care.”


Read Full Post »

The circulation of oceans is very much like the atmosphere, which is freer and faster. There is greater total flow of ocean water towards the equator than towards the poles. The reason for this seems to be the excess of evaporation over precipitation in the doldrum* belt of greatest heat. The resulting rains stir the sea. The wind influences the water below it creating little ripples that are far more efficient than the bigger waves in absorbing energy from the sky. These ripples can be compared to atoms making up in coordination and numbers what power they lack as individuals.

In any mass movements people are like atoms whose ability to reason or give shape or direct is restricted. Instead their brute force is freer.

*Due to intense solar heating near the equator, the warm, moist air is forced up into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon. As the air rises, it cools, causing persistent bands of showers and storms around the Earth’s midsection.


Known to sailors around the world as the doldrums, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, (ITCZ, pronounced and sometimes referred to as the “itch”), is a belt around the Earth extending approximately five degrees north and south of the equator. Here, the prevailing trade winds of the northern hemisphere blow to the southwest and collide with the southern hemisphere’s driving northeast trade winds.

Due to intense solar heating near the equator, the warm, moist air is forced up into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon. As the air rises, it cools, causing persistent bands of showers and storms around the Earth’s midsection. The rising air mass finally subsides in what is known as the horse latitudes, where the air moves downward toward Earth’s surface.

Because the air circulates in an upward direction, there is often little surface wind in the ITCZ. That is why sailors well know that the area can becalm sailing ships for weeks. And that’s why they call it the doldrums.(Source: ocean service. noaa.gov)


Read Full Post »

Warmer water temperatures can result in coral bleaching. When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality.

In 2005, the U.S. lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean in one year due to a massive bleaching event. The warm waters centred around the northern Antilles near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expanded southward. Comparison of satellite data from the previous 20 years confirmed that thermal stress from the 2005 event was greater than the previous 20 years combined.

Not all bleaching events are due to warm water.

In January 2010, cold water temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event that resulted in some coral death. Water temperatures dropped 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the typical temperatures observed at this time of year. Researchers will evaluate if this cold-stress event will make corals more susceptible to disease in the same way that warmer waters impact corals.(Ack: oceanservice.noaa.gov)

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for more than 1,400 miles off Australia’s NE coast, has been called the largest living structure on earth.  A survey led by biologist Terry Hughes, the director of the Arc Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland Australia, found that two-thirds of the northern sector of the reef has been badly damaged by a massive bleaching event that occurred in 2016.

The catastrophic damage to Australia’s reefs is part of a global phenomenon that is threatening the survival of coral worldwide, Hughes says, and is a clear warning that we need to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. How much of it is as a result of human activities?

All life forms are subject to larger forces that operate and must learn to survive. Would it help by blaming the north, south or the third world countries? Or make a concerted effect to ease stresses by a joint action plan?


Read Full Post »

Coral reefs are like islands in a vast ocean looking for their meal to come in. It sure comes from far and wide; and what variety! Each is looking for opportunity. Does it destroy reefs, no. A coral reef is an example of predators and prey coexisting.

Schools of parrotfishes gather there for their procreative act. They send clouds of eggs and sperm simultaneously. Sometimes these fishes eat part of corals themselves; and their presence brings in manta rays that time their arrival to make a meal of their eggs and sperm. Thus indirectly they curb the damage the fishes could inflict on the reef. Tiger sharks also drop in for their feed. Green turtle hatches there while octopuses, mandarin fishes and many other species use it for furthering their own biological programs.

While man does it all for himself what does he call his dust bowl?  “Making my hell great again”. He does not want to learn what advantages coexisting could mean. He is too clever for his own good. If he has religion he wants his idiocy over the dead bodies of others.

A mutualistic relationship is when two organisms of different species “work together,” each benefiting from the relationship. One example is that of the ox-pecker and the rhinoceros or zebra. Ox-peckers land on rhinos or zebras and eat ticks and other parasites that live on their skin. The ox-peckers get food and the beasts get pest control. Also, when there is danger, the ox-peckers fly upward and scream a warning, which helps the symbiont (a name for the other partner in a relationship).



Read Full Post »

Small marine animals called polyps create coral reefs. Related to anemones and jellyfish. These can live individually (like many mushroom corals do) or in large colonies that comprise an entire reef structure. The polyp uses calcium and carbonate ions from seawater to build itself a hard, cup-shaped skeleton made of calcium carbonate (limestone). This limestone skeleton protects the soft, delicate body of the polyp. Coral polyps are usually nocturnal, meaning that they stay inside their skeletons.

Their skeletons are white, like human bones. Generally, their brilliant colour comes from the zooxanthellae (tiny algae) living inside their tissues. Humans have skeletons within while polyps like beetles chose to reverse the order.

A polyp has a sac-like body and an opening, or mouth, encircled by stinging tentacles called nematocysts. At night, polyps extend their tentacles to feed.

Most coral polyps have clear bodies. Several million zooxanthellae live and produce pigments in just one square inch of coral. These pigments are visible through the clear body of the polyp and are what gives coral its beautiful color.   Drawing calcium from the sea the polyps produce reef even as our architecture would indicate: there is nothing that we have brought special which isn’t part of nature.
What makes us then differentiate one another? (Ack:coral.org)

Read Full Post »

Out In A Flash

“Rain was a story God telling but the man in umbrella kept interrupting.

The Lake did not take to traveling but the Hydro-electric Company made it to work

I love River Seine but it is n’t saying much.

A river comes with two banks. You can take either if you are clue less. River has been asking the age old question: Is the sea coming to me or am I returning a favor?”

By one who isn’t particular about doing anything today

Read Full Post »

Scientists tell us that the way things work at quantum level are unlike what we experience in our visible world. In macroscopic world “classical” physics of Newton et al rules the roost.

Fundamental particles of the quantum realm behave in seemingly impossible ways: they can exist in two places at once, or disappear and reappear somewhere else instantly. It is so weird that ‘spooky science’ fits the label under which they operate.

Quantum processes may occur not quite so far from our ordinary world as we once thought. Quite the opposite: they might be at work behind some very familiar processes, from the photosynthesis that powers plants – and ultimately feeds us all – to the familiar sight of birds on their seasonal migrations. Quantum physics might even play a role in our sense of smell.

A well-trained human nose can distinguish between thousands of different smells. But how this information is carried in the shape of the smelly molecule is a puzzle. Many molecules that are almost identical in shape, but jigger with one by swapping around an atom or two shall have very different smells. Vanillin smells of vanilla, but eugenol, which is very similar in shape, smells of cloves. Some molecules that are a mirror image of each other – just like your right and left hand – also have different smells. But equally, some very differently shaped molecules can smell almost exactly the same. Luca Turin, a chemist at the BSRC Alexander Fleming institute in Greece observes that there are inconsistencies.

He argues that the molecule’s shape alone isn’t enough to determine its smell. He says that it’s the quantum properties of the chemical bonds in the molecule that provides the crucial information.

According to Turin’s quantum theory of olfaction, when a smelly molecule enters the nose and binds to a receptor, it allows a process called quantum tunnelling to happen in the receptor.

In quantum tunnelling, an electron can pass through a material to jump from point A to point B in a way that seems to bypass the intervening space. For the same reason in photosynthesis of plants how electrons achieve efficiency in photosynthesis owes to the same tunneling. As with the bird’s quantum compass, the crucial factor is resonance. A particular bond in the smelly molecule, Turin says, can resonate with the right energy to help an electron on one side of the receptor molecule leap to the other side. The electron can only make this leap through the so-called quantum tunnel if the bond is vibrating with just the right energy.

When the electron leaps to the other site on the receptor, it could trigger a chain reaction that ends up sending signals to the brain that the receptor has come into contact with that particular molecule. This, Turin says, is an essential part of what gives a molecule its smell, and the process is fundamentally quantum.

The strongest evidence for the theory is Turin’s discovery that two molecules with extremely different shapes can smell the same if they contain bonds with similar energies.

Turin predicted that boranes – relatively rare compounds that are hard to come by – smelled very like sulphur, or rotten eggs. He’d never smelt a borane before, so the prediction was quite a gamble.

He was right. Turin says, “Borane chemistry is vastly different – in fact there’s zero relation – to sulphur chemistry. So the only thing those two have in common is a vibrational frequency. They are the only two things out there in nature that smell of sulphur.”

While that prediction was a great success for the theory, it’s not ultimate proof.


Whether or not nature has evolved to make use of quantum phenomena to help organisms make fuel from light, tell north from south, or distinguish vanilla from clove, the strange properties of the atomic world can still tell us a lot about the finer workings of living cells.

(To be concluded)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »